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If you’ve been to a bookstore recently, you've seen that adult colouring books are all the rage.

The popularity of these books have soared in the past couple of years, with four of the top ten best selling books on Amazon in 2015 being adult colouring books. The books are said to reduce anxiety in a manner similar to meditation.

I was a skeptic toward this outrageous trend when it entered the scene. Not only did I find adults partaking in an activity designated for six-year-olds a silly concept, but I found it very hard to believe they could potentially provide people with the therapeutic benefits they claim.

After a gruelling semester and rough exam period, I felt both physically and mentally drained. Desperate for some much-needed relaxation during the winter holidays, I begrudgingly went on an excursion to the bookstore to put this fad to the test.

After perusing the countless aisles of books, near cross-eyed from the sheer sight of these intricate drawings, I settled for one titled Magical Jungle. While part of me could still not fathom that I was resorting to this tactic in order to relieve stress, I wanted to give the experience a fair chance — and the “speckled tree frogs and prowling tigers waiting to be brought to life through my imagination,” intrigued my inner child.

While by no means has colouring erased my life's worries, it has represented an outlet for me to escape to.

Stress is an inevitable part of student life, but on those days where I just cannot focus anymore or need to take a break for the sake of my health, colouring books have been a great channel for this. Staying in the zone is the key for me. I turn off my cellphone and laptop to eliminate any possible distraction, and I dedicate 45 minutes to the task at hand — relaxation. With an accompanying soundtrack courtesy of my record player, I open my colouring book, often alongside a cup of tea, and immerse myself into the pages.

Mental health is such an important topic to discuss, particularly on a university campus, but we often forget to talk about viable strategies to help students. Sure, going to talk to someone is an option, and having resource centres to learn more can be beneficial, but in my eyes, the best solutions are through adjusting your daily routine.

Find the right tools and methods that suit your interests and lifestyle. For me, it just so happened that adult colouring books proved to be the vacation my mind and body needed, but for you it may be going to the gym or painting. After we graduate and leave the institution where these resources are provided, mental health still matters, so figuring out what works for you is vital — perhaps you will find your own black-and-white world to colour to life like I did. 

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